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Hebrew Media Review

South of Eden

The situation in southern Tel Aviv heats up; Time magazine crowns Bibi king; and Holocaust survivors celebrate their bar mitzvahs

A Holocaust survivor wraps tefillin as he celebrates his bar mitzvah (photo credit: Flash90)
A Holocaust survivor wraps tefillin as he celebrates his bar mitzvah (photo credit: Flash90)

Time Magazine may have crowned Netanyahu as king on its cover, but he had yet to comment on the growing concern of violence in southern Tel Aviv by press time last night. The spotlight is again on the area after the arrest of three Eritrean refugees for raping a 15-year-old girl on Independence Day.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s front-page headline is a quote from the victim of the attack, “Their looks will never leave me, it is the nightmare that will accompany me for my entire life.” Inside, the coverage describes the girl’s trauma in more detail and also includes an article about how the three suspects were captured in the densely populated area. Yedioth also includes a map of where the most African refugees reside – Tel Aviv with 25,000, then Eilat with 5,000-10,000. The package includes two opinion pieces about what can be done to fix the refugee problem.

Einat Fishbein wants to stop those who are committing crimes but help the community as a whole. Next to her brief column, Hanoch Daus states that returning refuges to South Sudan is not dangerous and that the Etirrian refugees are just men who wanted to escape that country’s 15-year mandatory military service. In the end, Daus blames left wing organizations and the EU for preventing Israel to take the steps it needs to enact.

Maariv’s coverage focuses more on the general situation in southern Tel Aviv, with pictures of refugees sleeping in Levinksy Park. One short article describes how a resident of the area dials 100 (the emergency number) as she leaves her home and places her finger on the ‘send’ button as she walks through the streets. Elsewhere on the page, Maariv reports that 21-year-old Israeli arrested for throwing firebombs at refugees has been been charged in the attacks.

Israel Hayom takes a more security oriented approach on the subject with the headline: “Returning the security.” The article describes how thousands of police and volunteers are spreading out across southern Tel Aviv in an attempt to stop the wave of violence. In an opinion piece on the same page, Yehuda Shelzingber writes that the tragedy of the southern Tel Aviv is shared among all political parties, all governments and all ministries who failed to help the neighborhood and the refugees.

Haaretz’s top story is the ruling by the Supreme Court that employers will now be required to justify why female employees earn less than their male counterparts. Previously the burden was on the woman to prove that she was underpaid because of her gender. The new ruling put the onus on the employer to prove that the woman is being paid less than her male counterparts for business reasons. Orit Gonen, who filed the original lawsuit over wage discrepancies while she worked at Home Center, told the paper that, “The Supreme Court returned power to the law and allowed women to complain and realize their rights.”

It’s Bibi Time

Three of the four papers ran profiles on Time Magazine’s upcoming cover story on Netanyahu, which labeled Netanyahu as “King Bibi.”  Israel Hayom and Maariv both quote largely from the Time article and have a generally neutral outlook on the piece. But Haaretz’s Barak Ravid takes a more cynical approach to the magazine article, stating that the flattering piece would never be published in Israel for one simple reason. “No Israeli journalist has been given such access to the prime minister in the past three years and none is likely to in the next three years either.”

While the Time magazine asks on its cover if Bibi will make war or peace, Yedioth reports on Meir Dagan trying to avoid war by urging readers to let sanctions on Iran to take effect. “Economic pressure and not war” is how Yedioth describes the article in the Wall Street Journal article penned by Meir Dagan and other prominent European and American former policy makers (including former CIA director James Woolsey).  In the piece they urge that not enough time has been given to let sanctions work and that more time be granted to avoid war.

Israel Hayom’s Dan Margalit takes exception to Dagan’s piece. He writes that the sanctions and diplomatic pressure would obviously be preferred to war.  “But the chattering tone actually reduces the chances that these things will occur.” In the end Maraglit summarizes that if there is an attack on Iran and it is disastrous, Dagan will look like a prophet – which may be just what he wants.

A warrior falls

Yedioth dedicated its page five to the funeral of MK Gideon Ezra, who passed away yesterday after a battle with lung cancer. The article, “Death of a warrior,” describes Gideon Ezra as a man dedicated to Israel who served in the Shin Bet security service and as government minister in various governments. A notoriously heavy smoker, Yedioth quotes an interview they conducted with him when he discovered he had lung cancer: “Cigarettes were always a tool for work, I would smoke two packs a day.” Many colleagues, including former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni, attended the funeral.

Israel Hayom reports on the recent “cell phone revolution” and how it lowered stock prices yesterday of the major communication companies in Israel. Cellcom, Orange, Bezeq and Hot were down between 1 percent to 5 percent during yesterday’s session of the Tel Aviv stock exchange. According to the article, analysts expect that this downtrend will continue into next week.

Maariv has a triumphant story about Holocaust survivors finally celebrating their bar mitzvahs, almost 70 years later. A ceremony was held yesterday for six Holocaust survivors who could not have their bar mitzvah because of the war. Maariv uses as its headline the inspirational quote of one of the participants, 85-year-old Yoel Leinburg: “The moment that the tefillin was bound over the number from Auschwitz, we were victorious.”

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